Google Drive is a cloud based storage service that allows you to store documents, photos, videos, spreadsheets, presentations and more online. It allows Chromebook users and also users of other devices to use Google’s free software for creating documents, spreadsheets and other applications for performing a variety of tasks.
Getting Started With Google Drive
You can get started with Google Drive for free by signing up with your Google account here. Google provides 15 GB of free online storage to be shared across three of its most popular services – Google Drive, Gmail and Google+ photos.
Here are items that do not count towards your storage limit:
- Google Docs, Google Sheets, Slides, Presentations and others.
- Files that others share with you
If you exceed your storage limit, you will receive an email warning from Google. You need to free up storage as soon as possible. Otherwise, you won’t be able to upload items to your Drive. Also, after a period of time, incoming messages to your Gmail account will be returned to the senders and you won’t be able to send new messages.
Another way of getting a good deal on Google Drive is to buy a Chromebook, Google offers 100 GB of free storage space for 2 years to buyers of Chromebooks (all brands).
Google Drive Storage Plans
Once you start exceeding free space of 15 GB on Google Drive, you can upgrade to monthly storage plans that start from as low as $1.99/month for 100GB of storage.
Google is flexible with its monthly storage plans, you can always change your plan, upgrade, downgrade or even cancel it anytime and go back to the 15 GB free storage option.
Another thing to remember is that these storage plans are set to renew automatically, you need to make sure that you cancel a service in case you do not want to make use of it.
File Upload Limits
Files uploaded to Google Drive and not converted to Google Doc format can be up to 5 TB in size. Document files that are converted to Google Docs format cannot be larger than 50 MB.
There are no limits imposed on Spreadsheets, while presentations created using Google slides can be up to 100MB in size (about 400 slides).
You can have embedded images in your documents, but embedded images cannot exceed 2MB each.
Data Security on Google Drive
Google Drive is a Cloud based storage service, which means that your data is potentially capable of being accessed by anyone who can break into your account. However, it is reassuring to know that security breaches and bugs are very rare on Google services.
10 March 2009 was the only time so far that Google has reported a bug in its Google Docs service. According to Google, about 0.05% of documents stored or using Google Docs were affected by the bug, and the issue was immediately fixed.
As it stands today, Google by default uses secure sockets layer communication (HTTPS) on Google Drive, this helps to prevents all the common man-in-the-middle type of attacks. As a further layer of security you can also encrypt the data stored on Google Drive by using third party Google Drive plugins that are available.
Across All Devices
Unlike Apple’s iOS storage service, Google Drive is accessible across all devices and all platforms. You can access Google Drive whether you are on a laptop, desktop, tablet or a mobile phone.
Drive eliminates the need to email or save files to USB Drives or local storage and ensures that you always have access to your documents, no matter where you are.
Google Drive is Not Just a Storage service
Google Drive is much more than just a storage service, it allows access to free software programs and tools that can be used to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more.
Following are the type of files that you can create and share on Google Drive:
- Documents: Similar to Microsoft word, you can compose letters, flyers and write a book!
- Spreadsheets: Similar to Microsoft Excel for storing, sorting and organizing data
- Presentations: You guessed it right, this is similar to Microsoft PowerPoint
- Forms: Can be used for collecting and organizing data
- Drawings: You can draw simple sketches and diagrams